Staff from various departments at the Friendly Home have been assisting Members and families with Zoom chats, window visits and in-person visits for the past several months. Despite the visiting rules, regulations and limitations due to COVID-19, we have been truly touched by these experiences. These are indeed very challenging times for Members and their loved ones, and we too share their joys and heartbreak.
Sam, Life Enrichment
I think what strikes me about the visits is how creative people are being in trying to reach their loved ones on a meaningful level. One family comes and tells stories about the Member’s life almost as if it were a book. Others have brought signs, pictures, and artifacts from Members’ lives to spark conversation and bridge the communication gap. I was at a window visit just yesterday where some family was at the window in person, but then they FaceTimed with the rest of the family so that everyone could be there. People are singing, dancing and praying with their loved ones through the glass and the distance. It is all at once heartbreaking and heartwarming, but most of all, it shows the spirit of hope and resilience that this community so deeply embodies and that the world so deeply needs.
Today during an in-person visit, it struck me how happy the Member was to see her daughter and son-in-law, even from a distance of six feet. They were laughing and joking, the son-in-law was sketching cartoons on the dry erase board, they talked about the election. It was just nice to see them having “normal” conversation, even within all of the confines and rules. On another window visit, a daughter brought a book to read to her mother because she realized it was difficult to get a conversation going, and thought that this would be a meaningful way for them to connect. The Member had her eyes closed with the most contented smile on her face, clearly listening and enjoying the sound of her daughter’s voice. In these difficult times, it is uplifting to see these beautiful expressions of love and moments of joy.
Bryant, Information Technology
I have truly enjoyed this experience of being able to connect families with their loved ones.
I really enjoy the Zoom calls with one particular family. They are always there every Friday, and although their mother is always sleeping, they talk amongst each other and to their mother as if she is awake. It always brings me joy.
But the last two Zoom calls I have done with residents and families has brought me such a wide range of emotions.
Today brought me to tears. Just the connection you can feel – it’s almost as if the family is in the room but not there at the same time. It brings me sadness that the family cannot physically be there to enjoy the precious time that is left with their parents. My generation has grown up with technology, understands it and uses it as a form of communication. It is incorporated into our everyday lives. Our Members, however, did not. They are used to actual in person conversations, and have a trove of memories that all involve in person activities. Just the thought that they cannot spend time in person with their family, and for the most part have to be confined to their room is absolutely crushing and I couldn’t imagine being the Member or the family member.
And the joy comes from hearing all about their stories and seeing the families our Members have created. Also the happiness it gives our Members to see their children’s/grandchildren’s/great grandchildren’s faces is priceless.
At the same time it makes you feel extremely helpless. Although we are doing all we can to connect these families, I feel that nothing can ever replace the in person contact with their loved ones.
This experience really has made me take a step back and truly enjoy every moment I have with my parents, children, and family.
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